Today’s game kicks off at 5 p.m. on the West Coast. All updates will be timestamped with game time. Be sure to check out our Twitter feed for instant info at http://www.twitter.com/dailytrojan
5:02 4th Quarter – USC 24, UA 14 – USC is doing everything they need to offensively, running the clock out and barely finding a first down each time. They are within field goal range, but they seem determined to keep the pressure on and continue driving downfield. USC has held the ball for over 37 minutes already.
8:46 4th Quarter – USC 24, UA 14 – And yet again, the USC defense holds, forcing Arizona to punt. They are really showing focus and determination, playing with fervor and energy until the whistle on each play. Offense in the fourth quarter has been almost nonexistent, but the Trojans now get a chance to change that and put the game out of reach. They currently have the ball at their own 48.
10:01 4th Quarter – USC 24, UA 14 – Possession is switching sides at an ever-increasing pace, as the Trojan D once again holds despite being backed down into their own territory. A nice punt by Keenyn Crier left USC on their own 6 yard line, but Barkley found Robert Woods for an 8-yard gain, and the running game has widened the cushion. The energy of both teams seems to be depleted significantly, and both offenses have stalled multiple times late in their drives.
1:59 3rd Quarter – USC 24, UA 14 – After a stop by the Trojans and a subsequent punt by the Wildcats, USC fails to find its rhythm once again on offense, with Barkley finding little to throw to before being picked off on only the second play of the drive. The Wildcats seem to have found new life, but they continue to be plagued by penalties and a poor rushing attack. They hold the ball on their own 33 yard line, facing third and 8.
3:31 3rd Quarter – USC 24, UA 14 – USC seems to have killed any momentum the Wildcats built at the start of the half by forcing a fumble deep in their own territory and recovering. Barkley is leading yet another meticulous drive down the field, using screen passes to progress the ball slowly but surely. The run game has also picked up for the Trojans, led primarily by Tyler and bolstered by the occasional Baxter handoff.
As I am typing this, the Trojans cap their drive with a 30-yard Joe Houston field goal.
Start of Second Half – USC 21, UA 14 – The Trojans take over to start the half and immediately use some trickery to no avail — a double lateral pass play is called back after an illegal block in the back. USC then fails to find any running room and is forced to punt. Arizona looks motivated and energetic to start the second half, despite the dwindling number of fans in the crowd.
Foles continues to pad his stats, but a couple drops by the Arizona receivers have left the Wildcats fighting for third down conversions. They now have the ball at the 25 yard line of USC looking at a 3rd and 10.
3:43 2nd Quarter – USC 21, UA 14 – Touchdown Arizona. Foles hits Travis Cobb on a 31-yard pass that goes right through the outstretched arms of USC cornerback Shareece Wright. The Wildcat offense certainly looked capable on the drive, slicing right through the Trojan defense with a series of deep middle passing routes that Foles hit squarely each time. It seems that this game will come down to which defense can step up first.
3:43 2nd Quarter – USC 21, UA 7 – TOUCHDOWN USC! The Trojans put together a huge 17-play, 66-yard scoring drive, finished by a 3-yard run by Tyler. The drive took over 9 minutes, and featured two fourth down conversions (one of which came on a fake field goal pass from backup quarterback Mitch Mustain to tight end Jordan Cameron). Kiffin seems to be getting creative with his play calling, and so far it has worked extremely well. Just like USC’s defense, Arizona’s is having major problems getting off the field after third and fourth downs.
7:52 2nd Quarter – USC 14, UA 7 – The Trojans are driving yet again on this Wildcat defense, using a combination of effective runs and short passes to march the ball down the field. Tailbacks Marc Tyler and Baxter look particularly sharp, as does Barkley, who is 12 for 13 with 94 yards passing and a touchdown.
12:50 2nd Quarter – USC 14, UA 7 – Touchdown Arizona. The Wildcats put together an 80-yard drive, capped by a Foles 5-yard strike to wide receiver David Douglas for the score. USC’s defense has made a couple of big plays already, but — as has been the trend this season — cannot seem to get off the field on third down, as they have allowed the Wildcats to convert five of six of their attempts so far in the game. Both defenses look porous against any sort of pass attack other than the screen play, and Barkley and Foles seem poised to put up big numbers tonight.
2:21 1st Quarter – USC 14, UA 0 – TOUCHDOWN USC! The Trojans sack Foles, force a fumble, and recover the ball on Arizona’s 22 yard line. After a screen pass to tailback Dillon Baxter goes for a first down, Barkley connects with tight end Rhett Ellison for the Trojans’ second touchdown. The Arizona crowd looks deflated, and the Trojan offense looks unstoppable. This is the first time all season that Arizona has given up more than 10 points in the first quarter.
4:13 1st Quarter – USC 7, UA 0 – TOUCHDOWN USC! The Trojans look dominant on their first possession, driving 83 yards for the first score of the ballgame. USC used a combination of screen plays and out-routes to move the chains, then punched it in on a QB sneak by sophomore Matt Barkley. It seems as if coach Lane Kiffin’s offense is working the way he wants it to, but now it remains up to the Trojan defense to prove that it has made strides in its play.
If the tackling thus far has been any indication, USC won’t be plagued by missed tackles tonight. But until the secondary tightens up, Arizona quarterback Nick Foles will have a field day passing the ball.
8:50 1st Quarter – USC 0, UA 0 – The Wildcats start the game with the ball and manage to drive to the Trojans’ 17 yard line, but the USC defense finally holds and forces a field goal attempt that sails wide right. USC’s defense looks a little slow against Arizona’s hurry-up offense, but the Trojans have all but stuffed the Wildcat running game. Although deeper slant routes have caused some trouble thus far for the Cardinal and Gold, Arizona decided to go with two consecutive screen passes on second and third down that went nowhere and led to the field goal try.
The USC offense has looked strong on their first possession, driving down the field on multiple plays of double-digit yardage. They now sit on Arizona’s 11 yard line with a first down.
Pregame – Hey guys, it’s James Bianchi here ready to bring you live blog updates from USC vs. Arizona in Tucson! Stay tuned.